Top 5 Shapeshifters in Modern Culture

First, some housekeeping: Several authors are doing a blog-swap from July 28 to August 10 as a fun exploration of shape shifters and fantasy novels in general for the launch of my novel Gargoyle, which is book four in my Doublesight series. It’s also a standalone in case you haven’t read the other books.

Along with the blog-swap is a Rafflecopter giveaway! Or you can join us on Facebook.

Here’s the blog-swap schedule:

July 28 (Tues.): (Me on Kandi J. Wyatt’s site)

July 29 (Wed.):!blog/c23fy (Kandi J. Wyatt on my site)

July 30 (Thurs.): (Me on Jonathan Gould’s site)

August 1 (Sat.):!blog/c23fy (Jonathan Gould on my site)

August 2 (Sun.): (Me on Michael G. Munz’s site)

August 3 (Mon.):!blog/c23fy (Michael G. Munz on my site)

August 4 (Tue.): on Elise Stephens’ site)

August 5 (Wed.):!blog/c23fy (Elise Stephens on my site)

August 6 (Thur.): on David Covenant’s site)

August 7 (Fri.):!blog/c23fy (David Covenant on my site)

August 9 (Sun.): on E.S. Tilton’s site)

August 10 (Mon.):!blog/c23fy (E.S. Tilton on my site)


Here’s Michael's wonderful post about his top five shapeshifters of all time. You may be surprised by his picks. -Terry


I'm pleased and honored to be here on Terry Persun's blog guest post in honor of the release of Gargoyle, the fourth volume in his Doublesight series. As the series revolves around a world of shapeshifters, I thought I'd take the opportunity to make this post all about me and give you my own list of....

Top 5 Shapeshifters in Modern Culture

by Michael G. Munz

As anyone who's read the other Top 5 lists that show up from time to time on my own blog can tell you, I'm highly indecisive, so this list is in no particular order...or IS it? (Hint: No, it's not. Because I can't commit.) So with that little legal blurb out of the way, let's get to it!

Odo (Star Trek)

The "changeling" constable from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Odo may be one of the most deeply explored changeling characters—if not the most, depending on who you ask—on television. Beyond being treated as a simple gimmick, Odo's nature informed his character arc across the course of the show. First a seemingly unique being whose origins were unknown even to himself, then a long lost scion of his people, then an exile, then a savior, this journey allowed DS9 to explore themes of cultural identity, personal identity, and, in the way science fiction is so good at, basic human rights.

Of course, something must be said here for the acting skill of Rene Auberjonois, without whom Odo wouldn't have been the same. Just don't ask him to explain that whole "conservation of mass" thing.

Dracula (Bram Stoker's Dracula)

I'd be remiss here if I didn't include Dracula. While a werewolf is arguably more iconic shapeshifter, you just can't go wrong with the most famous vampire. In Bram Stoker's original work, Dracula had the power to transform himself into a wolf, a dog (if I remember right) a bat, and—get this—fog. Fog! I mean, for crying out loud, how cool would that be? I mean, sure, you have to avoid vacuum cleaners, but you're looking at massive style points. Ever been cornered at a party making small talk with someone you don't like? Well BAM! FOG! And away you go.

Did I mention I'm an introvert?

T-1000 (Terminator 2: Judgment Day)

Not only was the T-1000 a special effects triumph back in 1992 when Terminator 2 was released, it was also one heck of an effective shapeshifter. How do you deal with something that can not only take the form of your loved ones to try to kill you, but also the very floor you might be walking on. The thing can absorb bullets, erupt in blades, even grow a third arm if it needs to shoot at you while flying its stolen helicopter. And it absolutely will not stop! Ever! Until you are impressed!

Plus it's all silvery and looks real neat.

The Pooka (Celtic mythology)

So while I'm more versed in Greek mythology (see Zeus Is Dead), Celtic mythology has also captured my interest, and my favorite creature from Celtic lore is also an adept shapeshifter. The Pooka (aka pwca, puca, phooka, etc.) is said to take many forms: horses, goblins, rabbits, dogs, goats, and even human form, almost always with black fur. It's also something of a shapeshifter in terms of its nature, at least when you contrast the varying stories of the creature in the lore. Sometimes fouling berries or leading travelers astray, sometimes offering sound advice, or helping farmers, or being mischievous but benevolent pranksters. But then, the fey creatures are chaotic like that; sometimes they'll bake you dinner, sometimes they'll bake you into dinner.

In any case, I like 'em. My affinity may have something to do with a Welsh friend of mine once saying I had a pooka who followed me around fixing computers. Also, it's fun to say "pooka."

The Thing (John Carpenter's The Thing)

Holy freaking heck, what in the name of Lon Chaney, Jr.'s back hair is THAT?! It's the Thing! The otherworldly, freaky as hell, utterly gross, disturbing, horrific paranoia-inducing whatsit that takes an Antarctic vacation at the worst possible time for Kurt Russell. Seriously, if you haven't seen this movie, then why are you reading this? Go see it! ...I mean, unless you don't like psychologically claustrophobic horror-fests where anyone can be an alien horror just waiting to eat you or split itself into pieces so you can't possibly kill it, and Wilford Brimley is out to get you.

Seriously, Wilford Brimley. Creepy dude when he doesn't get his oatmeal.

So those are my Top 5, at least at the time of this writing. But hey, my indecisiveness extends to never being able to pick just five. So honorable mentions go to The Doctor (Doctor Who), even though he can't really shapeshift voluntarily, and to the entire Greek pantheon of gods, who love to change into anything from a while bull to a shower of gold coins to help mortals, mess with mortals, and seduce mortals. Because the Greek gods get bored easily, so…BAM! FOG!

Michael G. Munz Bio:

An award-winning writer of speculative fiction, Michael G. Munz is fascinated with Greek mythology. He also possesses what most "normal" people would likely deem far too much familiarity with a wide range of geek culture, though he prefers the term "geek bard": a jack of all geek-trades, but master of none. Or mostly none. (There are exceptions.) He is the author of three novels, including the comedic fantasy Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure.

Michael dwells in Seattle where he quests to write the most entertaining novel known to humankind and find a really fantastic clam linguini. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or on his website blog, Geek Notes.

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